Prognostic Factors and Treatments Efficacy in Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma: A Multicenter Retrospective Study

Neurology. 2022 Aug 23;99(8):e843-e850. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200844. Epub 2022 Jun 17.


Background and objectives: Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is an uncommon but serious condition with a high morbidity rate. Although SSEH is related to numerous risk factors, its etiology remains unclear. There is a paucity of data on its prognostic factors. We aim to evaluate prognostic factors for SSEH in this study.

Method: A retrospective study was performed on patients who were admitted for SSEH in 3 academic neurosurgical centers from January 2010 to June 2021. Clinical parameters, including clinical condition on admission, anticoagulants use, imaging modality, the timing and type of surgery performed, and outcomes, were collected. Prognostic factors were analyzed. The Frankel scale was used to assess the clinical condition.

Results: A total of 105 patients with SSEH were retrieved from medical records, with a mean age of 51.3 years. Eighty-three patients (79%) complained of acute onset of severe neck or back pain. Eighty-two patients (78%) suffered from moderate to severe neurologic deficits (Frankel scale A-C). Anticoagulation usage was found in 20% of cases. Lower thoracic spine (p = 0.046), use of anticoagulants (p = 0.019), sphincter function disfunction (p = 0.008), severe neurologic deficits at admission (p < 0.001), and rapid deterioration (<1 hour, p = 0.004) were found to be associated with poor outcomes. Surgical decompression was performed in 74 (70%) cases. The univariate and multivariate analysis revealed that preoperative severe neurologic deficits (p = 0.005) and extended paraplegia time (>12 hours, p = 0.004) were independent adverse prognostic factors. The univariate analysis revealed that lower thoracic spine location (p = 0.08) and rapid progression (<6 hours, p = 0.005) were correlated with poor prognosis, but the multivariate analysis failed to identify them as independent prognostic factors.

Discussion: Adverse prognostic factors for SSEH might include thoracic segment location, use of anticoagulation, severe neurologic deficits on admission, sphincter dysfunction, and rapid progression. Preoperative neurologic deficit and extended paraplegia time were strongly correlated with the prognosis in the subset of patients who underwent surgical decompression. Timely surgical decompression is recommended for patients with moderate/severe neurologic deficits or progressive neurologic deterioration.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Spinal* / complications
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Spinal* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Spinal* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / complications
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anticoagulants